This is the first in a series of lessons on tapping and related
bass guitar. I hope to explain both the physical side of things,
and some of
the theory behind the notes. I'm starting from ABSOLUTE basics
so it should be
very easy to follow — get this stuff nailed and the rest is easy
mail me if you thing I'm going too fast or too slow. The very existence
course depends on feedback — unless I know people are reading
this then I won't
even write part 2. I'll try and address any problems or suggestions
in future lessons.
Tapping is often seen as a technique used exclusively for solos
but this isn't
necessarily the case and I'll try and provide examples of each
that demonstrates its use in a supporting SONG context. On a
related note I
will feel free to digress into other techniques as and when I
feel that they
are interesting or necessary to place a piece of tapping in context.
The techniques I'll outline form a PART of a good bass players
don't have to be an experienced bass player to follow this course,
but if you
are starting from near absolute scratch then make sure you spend
other techniques. This stuff will sound great, and may make
an audience notice
you if the band is working well — but if you can't pedal quavers
then the band
isn't going to work, and you're just going to look daft.
Tapping can be roughly divided into two styles — the Billy Sheehan
Halen) and the Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani) style. I'll touch on both, but
concentrate on the latter, as it tends to be more harmonically
driven, and is
more applicable to a typical band situation.
OK — enough waffle lets start...
Sit down with your bass and with the index finger of your
LEFT hand play the A string at the 12th fret by hammering on (don't
right hand at all):
Easy huh? Make sure that it sounds clean. Practise ending the
note as well as
starting it by lifting you finger a small fraction away from
the fretboard so
the string is damped. There should be no rattles, and the note
should end when
you want it to.
Now keep your left hand in about the same position and bring your
round so your elbow is over the bridge(ish), and your fingers
are over the
fretboard. Rest your thumb on the top side of the neck and place
over the 14th fret — index finger over the D string, middle over
the G string.
This is your basic arm position (though like all basic things
you'll grow to
learn when not appropriate). Now bring your right index finger
down onto the
string to tap your first note.
Once again practise starting and stopping the note cleanly
— it should be just
as good as the note hammered with your left hand.
Now lets put those two together...
Repeat this until you feel comfortable with it. Listen to the
sound of the
interval (the gap between the notes) — I'll deal with this in
a few weeks, but
you should start listening now, so that you'll be ready.
Now its time to bring in another finger — the middle finger of
your right hand.
It should have been hanging over the 14th fret of the G string
up till this
point so try tapping there.
Once you're comfortable with this, start put it together with
the other notes.
And then finally:
Loop all of these until you're completely comfortable with
them — Your going to
be able to play these in your sleep (with your eyes shut goes without
seriously! you shouldn't need to look at the fretboard, though
it is excusable
to start off with, or when learning something new).
[This might be a good time to take a break if you've had problems
previous stuff — get it right before progressing]
Right now lets shift that whole pattern down a whole tone
Get that sorted, and we'll move down again...
Now as a final exercise lets put those last three together to
form our first